Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 394 Lai Meisong $5.95B

Random fact: Built a vegetable garden behind ZTO's headquarters.


Lai is the founder and chairman of ZTO Express, China's largest delivery company by parcel volume. The Shanghai-based courier has more than 30,000 delivery outlets and revenue of 30.4 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in 2021. The company raised $1.4 billion through an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2016.

As of :
Last change -$74.2M ( -1.2%)
YTD change +$264M ( +4.6%)
Biggest asset ZTO US Equity
Country / Region China
Age 52
Industry Services
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Lai Meisong's net worth of $5.95B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Lai's fortune is derived from a 28% stake in ZTO Express, a Shanghai-based courier with revenue of 30.4 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in 2021.

ZTO Express has about 30,700 delivery outlets, according to a March 2022 company presentation.

Lai holds his stake through wholly-owned ZTO LMS Holding, a British Virgin Islands-based company, according to the company's 2021 annual report.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of these proceeds, as well as taxes and market performance.

Christian Arnell, an external investor relations representative, declined to comment on Lai's net worth.


Family: Married, No children

Lai Meisong was born into a farmer's family in 1970 in Tonglu, a county near China's eastern city of Hangzhou, home of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. After failing the high school entrance exam at age 14, he began working at a local silk factory. 

Lai started a business harvesting timber from the forests around Tonglu two years later. That business made him one of the richest people in his hometown by 2001, with over 5 million yuan ($600,000) in savings, according to a report by Qingdao News in December 2015.

Lai recruited three partners to help set up ZTO Express in Shanghai in 2002, after seeing the profitability of other delivery companies where his friends and relatives had been working. In spite of restrictions that banned couriers from competing with state-owned China Post Group before 2009, clients still preferred the faster services offered by private delivery companies in the gray market.

After delivering 57 packages on its first day, ZTO's business grew rapidly on the back of China's e-commerce boom that fueled an increasing demand for parcel deliveries. The courier handled 2.9 billion packages and had revenue of $915.8 million in 2015, according to its prospectus. ZTO raised $1.4 billion through an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2016.

The billionaire lives in Shanghai with his family.

  • 1970 Lai is born in Tonglu county in Zhejiang province.
  • 1985 Fails high school entrance examination.
  • 1987 Starts a timber business with two friends in Tonglu.
  • 1995 Marries a neighbor's daughter in his home village.
  • 2002 Establishes ZTO Express in Shanghai as a delivery company.
  • 2003 Moves his family to Shanghai from Tonglu.
  • 2005 Begins cross-province delivery service.
  • 2016 ZTO debuts on the New York Stock Exchange.